I (jm) love to look out the window while I’m practicing my scales and exercises, and the view from the 11th floor can’t be beat. It’s just high enough to have a great view of lots of stuff, but not so high that I can’t see all the chickens running around in the alleys. There’s a village right next door to our building separated by a high wall (which I can easily see over) and boy there’s a lot of activity there. And I promise I’m not spying on the neighbors– I just watch what happens on the streets!
There are children everywhere that come out and play in the afternoon. If it rains, typically a small group (of boys) will run around and get soaked and splash in puddles. When it’s sunny out, they ride their bikes around in circles or take horse and carriage rides around the block. Often these activities are combined, as the kids like to chase the horse on their bike, and sometimes they’ll hold onto the carriage sides and get a free ride. One day I saw a guy drive his motorcycle into his house, probably because it was raining, but you think he’d just use a tarp and leave it outside. There are also chickens meandering around pecking at the ground looking for food. I’ve seen two sets of mommy cats with kittens playing on the rooftops, and one day a lady tried to chase one off the roof with a broom. Of course, as soon as she stopped swatting, the cat snuck back where it wasn’t supposed to be. The street is funny too. It’s about a lane and a half wide and is mostly one way, so mind-boggling traffic snarls occur regularly when two minivans try to pass one another going opposite ways. There is an equal mix of cars, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, and food carts being moved around. It’s quite fun to watch.
Yesterday I saw a new one though, and it was on our side of the wall. On the road around our building, a company of either military recruits or security guards or something came jogging by, causing the cars behind them to slow to a crawl. These guys were running in lines 3 across, about 14 deep, and were wearing heavy shoes and dark pants. I felt bad for them, it generally feels hot outside when you’re standing still, much less running! They stopped, found a square of grass, and all flopped down on the grass. Several of them seemed to not hear the instructions becuase they laid down in the wrong direction and then had to turn around. There was a guy in military fatigues in charge who then had them do some bizarre exercises, such as laying on their backs and holding their legs up in the air. They also had to hold their arms above their heads, then wiggle their feet around, and then they got up and got back in line. And all the security guards at our complex were interested, so I watched as they all left their posts to go watch. If these guy were army recruits, well, let’s just say I feel bad for the Indonesian army. But I think it’s more likely they were security guards being whipped (or gently encouraged) into shape. In any event, it’s always amusing to watch 40 grown men role around in the dirt.